Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Articles on the start of school at Westinghouse

From the Tribune:


The article mentions 700 students but word is that 500 - 600 students attended today.


Questioner said...

Article from the PG:


Anonymous said...

What a tremendous effort by admin and agencies for the launch of the acadamies.

Anonymous said...

It does certainly sound that way in the paper doesn 't it?The teacher chatter is vastly different-so few supplies that others are taking up collection for them; no master schedule ready to roll out day one; a lot of questions about no bells with students who seemed yesterday tocrave structure-at least know there is more to the storyq

Anonymous said...

If Lopez is involved it is doomed to fail.

Anonymous said...

Good PR for doomed project, the school already has two. PELA's running it

Randall Taylor said...

I am stunned that they are not starting the younger students an hour early to prevent interaction with older students going to an from school. Transportation was provided to Belmar for students walking from places like upper Lincoln Ave.(former Lemington students) this is no longer the case.

I hope people will continue to encourage parents to NOT agree to Westinghouse assignment(where will the students go?). We can force the District to allow the community, with contracted professionals,to create a plan that has at least a chance to succeed. Parents still have the power to stop this unfolding academic tragedy. We should all hope that all that is harmed, is these children's education.

Anonymous said...

A 'school choice' letter from PPS has been sent to families with teenage boys giving them the opportunity to attend Westinghouse instead of Brashear.

Anonymous said...

School choice letters were also sent to Allderdice families giving them the option to attend Westinghouse. What are the chances.

Anonymous said...

That is a really LONG commute for a hs student from Brashear area to Westinghouse-not quite as bad from lower Hill area but still a long commute. What could they offer to get any student to travel that far?

Anonymous said...

The only reason they are sending school choice letters and giving them westinghouse as a choice is because every other high school is in corrective action under no child left behind (NCLB) except capa, and OBama (This year the 11 grade tested and made it). And under a school choice option a student cannot choose a school in impoverment status 2 or corrective action. That is one of the reason they faked us into a single gender situation at WHS so they could start over freely under NCLB and give kids a School choose option of a school they know they would not choose. Yeah right what students outside of Homewood is going to choose Westinghouse with out it proving its self first. Clever move huh?
This is why Uprep was the Default and option school at first for whs and all students because it was new school and had not be rated yet under NCLB. But now that it has tested anot made AYP , it is not a school choice option either.
Also PPS new by not having any school that students could opt in with out a prerequisite reguirement (obama) or audition (capa),They would have to set up cooperative agreements with other high schools in another district in the area and pay for our students to go there. Hence WHS. A not option choice.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised CAPA and Obama made AYP, but I will be mildly surprised if any school other than CAPA makes it in 2012. I mean, my God, NCLB is utterly ridiculous where urban schools are concerned.
That said, how long will PPS be able to attach prerequisites for schools like Obama? As this district cuts more and more programs at the elementary level, won't there come a time when the pool just doesn't have that many candidates who had prior foreign language instruction?

Anonymous said...

That said, how long will PPS be able to attach prerequisites for schools like Obama? As this district cuts more and more programs at the elementary level, won't there come a time when the pool just doesn't have that many candidates who had prior foreign language instruction? **

Oh, I believe that's already happened. Last year's 8th grade lost a LOT of students. So to fill this year's 9th grade, they accepted a lot of kids. Pretty sure a good percentage of them have little or no language experience. They had all those kids whose parents didn't want them experimented on at Westinghouse or joining a failing school at UPrep.

And, that's all fine, but I do hope that they've made plans for catching those kids up, rather than just throwing them into classes and making the teachers decide between catching them up and moving the kid who have been there along at their level.

Anonymous said...

"That said, how long will PPS be able to attach prerequisites for schools like Obama? As this district cuts more and more programs at the elementary level, won't there come a time when the pool just doesn't have that many candidates who had prior foreign language instruction"

I know a good (A/B) 7th grade kid/student that is left Obama for Greenfield for 8th grade this year. His grades tanked & he was miserable there. Sad thing is he is nervous about switching schools in 8th grade. This is not working.

Mark Rauterkus said...

There will be kids who have the language covered as they will be from other parts of the world or else their parent(s) speak another language.

ESL is everywhere in public schools in other cities.

Anonymous said...

**There will be kids who have the language covered as they will be from other parts of the world or else their parent(s) speak another language. **

Do you mean at Obama? Unless it's a language they teach there, they can't test for it in IB. Also, I believe there are rules about languages you can take related to your home language. Of course, everyone has to take the English as well.

ESL services are only offered at certain schools, since Pittsburgh doesn't have a huge influx of non-native speakers, though certainly we have enough to support good ESL teaching.

The influx of new kids to Obama are not from other countries, however!

Mark Rauterkus said...

My point is that the need for language instruction by the end of grade 8 is not only to be filled by PPS classrooms.

There are plenty of kids who move into the city who have various language backgrounds to keep the pipeline for one school covered.

In a big way, PPS is without the burden of huge influx of kids with other languages. Of course this should not be twisted to mean mean thoughts. We could use the bump in enrollment. And we could use the diversity of talents and skills, etc, etc.

Plus, it is not my wish to lessen the language instruction that are provided in PPS classrooms in Element and Middleschools. We have had a great legacy in this area. It was a strength of PPS in recent years. But it was not universal.

Questioner said...

Well, there would need to be plenty of kids who move into the area w/ a language background and decide to attend Obama rather than Allderdice, CAPA, sci tech, etc. There don't seem to be a whole lot with French, Japanese or German skills. More Spanish but many of those are in the Brashear area (a long commute to Obama).

Anonymous said...

There aren't more than a handful of Spanish-speaking ESL students at Brashear. Most of the ESL students are from Nepal.

Anonymous said...

I heard that there have already been fights at Westinghouse this week and the police were called yesterday. There was also a "flash mob" by the boys to meet the girls. There were no schedules for students the first two days. We are off to a great start!

Questioner said...

Things seemed a little rushed. PPS probably would have been better off taking the week to be completely prepared for students, maybe with just an orientation session or two. But that's been the pattern, hasn't it- rush to roll out ALA's, rush to roll out CEP, rush to roll out U Prep, all without adequate planning or consideration of concerns raised. And then go back and struggle to get it right.

Bulldog Forever said...

No schedules for two days is not acceptable given the amount of administrators/PELAs in that building.

Wouldn't the Commonwealth be thrilled to know that despite the School Improvement Grant (SIG) resources they passed through from the Federal Government that kids didn't have something as fundamental as a master schedule and student schedules?

Maybe if as much attention got paid to details like this as did "branding", hiring an Archivist, enormous raises for executives and glossy postcards with the Superintendent's picture on them PPS would be a better school district.

Sadly these are not the kinds of details that have ever mattered to the Roosevelt/Lane/Fischetti/Weiss regime.

Building a schedule is Principalship 101.

Anonymous said...

Whoa there Bulldog! Don't be too tough on PELA's now. After all, isn't their job really to observe teachers and ensure fidelity to curriculum??? You wouldn't want them to do too much, would you?

In the history of education in Pittsburgh, has there ever been a sorrier lot on the district's payroll?

Anonymous said...

I am sending this to many of you, with concerns what the new school year may bring about for our school. First, I believe it is important to know that come the new school year 2011-2012 Westinghouse will remain open, even though it may not look the way that you remember it to look, with the new design of the single gender academy.

However, some of the other differences that may take place with the upcoming school year, is the talk of perhaps changing the name, changing the school mascot, the school colors, which ultimately will lose our song "Westinghouse Forever" and what then will happen to the "Westinghouse Wall of Fame" which so many schools are starting to immulate.

This, folks, is our heritage, it is what we bring to the table. Yes, we do have something to be happy about; we are not closing as so many of the neighboring schools have and will . ie Schenley and Peabody. Therefore, I am urging you to make your voice known. Come to the neighborhood meetings, speak up now, do not wait until the 10th hour and then voice your opinion, the time is now. Share this with those that you know that are not a part of this e-mail.

A Bulldog for Life
Class of 1967
Terry L. Grinage Beale (former Teacher at Westinghouse)

Anonymous said...

I understand that two teachers from Westinghouse just up and Quit the other day, and others have express their unhappiness with the way things are going.

I hear schedules are all messed up and students are running around everywhere not knowing where to go. Many of the classes dont have roomn numbers on them so the students are lost. Teachers are working off of sign up sheets and dont know if certain students should even be in their classes.

Some of the six grade students didnt get the word that school started early and have not even started school yet, because there was not enough out reach. This program was rushed and they are off to a bad start.

Anonymous said...

I guess that is what happens when you move teachers like us from the school that wanted to be there. Two teachers who apply that were removed one was a
Special education teacher who was moved to Woolslair Elementry (Bloomfield)2/3 days & Mifflin(near Century 3) 2/3 days a week. The other was a civic teacher who was moved to Upep.

And by the way PPS broke up the best civic and history department in the district at Uprep to send them to Brasher to train other teachers.

Questioner said...

The whole idea of shuffling around teachers (often with groups of teachers at underperforming schools just changing places) so that teachers who know the students at a school and want to be there are instead transferred seems misguided.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday I visited the school and oh my goodness what a mess. What happened to the building since just last year. We worked hard to keep it presentable, now its a mess. I mean I went pass my old class room near rooom 164, and OMG what happen to the walls. It looks like they are finished in in primer. The contractor just left it that way and you expect the students to feel good about their surroundings. Doesnt anyone care any more?

There were food fights in the cafeteria and kids were going at it in a few regular fights as well. I heard all types of profanity right in the office and no one was even corrected them. Are the Adminstrators and new teachers afraid? There is no respect and I can assure you that no real education is happening there.

I even visited a class room and it was out of control. And PPS and the principals had us leave to go else where? Please! Whs is in big trouble and instead of asking for help the prinicpals and teachers are going to be hush hush for fear of losing their jobs. And guess who is going to suffer? The kids.

Anonymous said...

There has been fights almost everyday at Westinghouse. And that is comming from a city police officer. WHS have been told to keep as much of it as they can in house. This is a bad policy and infact maybe illegal. That are allowing kids to get away with commiting criminal acts such as fighting. They are doing this because PPS dont want it to get out that combining the rival neighborhoods was a bad idea.

Therefore when the kids find out that they are not pressing charges or that they will be going to the magistraite office its going to be worst. Isnt there some way we can inform the state, or the district attorneys office what is happening? They are reguired to report these incidents to the state so the state can track data to see if it is a persistently dangerous school.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for commenting -- I've often wondered about incidents I've heard about or know of in schools and wondered why there weren't charges filed.

Last year there were at least two drug incidents at two different K-8 schools that were never, as far as I know reported to the police, nor were the drug-sniffing dogs called in. People who've been in the district longer were shocked that these incidents were handled in-school because they wouldn't have been in the past.

It does seem like part of the PELA training is about this -- they don't seem to realize the effect you point out, which is that the kids realize there are no real consequences and behavior gets much worse very quickly.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Globally, I have no problems with the efforts to keep the police and the judges, as well as the overlords from where ever out of, or at arms length from our students, classrooms, schools and districts.

Adult matters, different response. Heartbeat.

However, transparency matters greatly.

And, IMNSHO, transparency matters far more than privacy, as we are dealing with communities where elements get mixed easily among the kids, quickly and freely. So, info to others is often the best policy, rather than ignorance in the name of privacy, or worse, dirty little secrets.

Some, sadly, not so little.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this is not just a Westinghouse problem. Until public schools can hold parents accountable for their children's behavior this problem will just get worse. Private, Charter and Magnet schools can politely (or not so politely) tell parents that their school is not a good fit for their child, and send them back to their neighborhood school. With Homeschooling and Cyber schools now a viable option, public schools need to be able to say the same things to parents. I am most certain that if they were able to do this, the children's behavior would change over night, because most parents have no desire to homeschool their child. But as it stands right now, parents can put their head in the sand and say, 'it's not my child' even when they know quite well that it is.

Anonymous said...

Right now, they can suspend misbehaving students, but often parents talk them out of it-- inconvenient you know. I have heard teachers (in the past not lately too dangerous) speak out at meetings that indeed perhaps inconveniencing parents is EXACTLY what will settle things. If my dog tears up the neighbor's yard, I am held responsible- if a student tears up a classroom, or even another student-- we cant inconvenience the parent.